Saturday, November 10, 2012

Evolution of the Bass in A Nutshell


The earliest use of the bass in the USA was with Dixieland music, performed from the 1917s in the south, also known as New Orleans Jazz Music.  Dixieland was originally played with a tuba (patented in Germany in 1838), or Sousaphone.  Later the stringed double bass was used when bands started playing in whore houses and were able to stay in one position.

The Dixieland sound is a mixture of musics including Marches from John Phillips Sousa and Ragtime (1850s).  Sousa's parents were from Portugal and Bavaria (Germany), where the Tuba was invented.  Marches were commonplace in Germany in the 1700s and 1800s, especially in classical music by Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven and others; and also in the military to assist in transportation of troops from one place to another.  Sousa was heavily influenced by this music, and his marches have become quite famous in the world of Dixieland and origins of Jazz (1920s USA), and Swing (1930s USA).

The 1940s brought Jazz to Europe, where it was reintegrated and regurgitated.  In the US, String Bands in the 1930s and 1940s started using the bass in combination with the guitar and mandolin to lay down the rhythm track for the band sound.  And later, influenced by the Blues, Rockabilly became Rock & Roll and the double bass was changed to the electric bass guitar in 1951 by Fender.

The rest is history.

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